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refugees

Photo by Valerie Schmidt

The Useful Village

In the fall of 2015, Germany designated Sumte, population 102, as a sanctuary for nearly 800 refugees. What followed was a living experiment in the country’s principles.

Photograph by Jeff Sharlet

Not Even My Own

I thought they were wild but I’m told irises rarely are. Planted; invasive; European, mostly, or Asian. But there are natives, too. These, with their ribbed yellow tongues, resemble an iris called the wild flag, which grows from Nova Scotia to Sitka. How might it have come to this small valley? First a bulb, then a garden, then flowers, planted; now flowers, wild. Escapees or refugees, invaders or simply the left behind.

Alex Potter

Farhad

Ahlam, twenty-seven, was visiting Germany for a conference in the spring of 2015 when war broke out in Yemen, her home country. Her family urged her to stay, so she applied for asylum. “For me, it’s a new life,” she said. “This is what I really want. Most of us, we just came for a safe place, a place we can really do something that we can’t do in our countries—maybe because of the war, maybe because of society, maybe because we don’t have freedoms. I never felt freedom and I never knew what independence meant until I came to this country. As a woman in Yemen, we can’t do anything. Independence is for the men.”

West African migrants discovered near the Bouri offshore field.

Out of the Sea

In 2015, some 1 million migrants and refugees entered Europe as they fled instability in the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. We felt compelled to try to reset the discussion of this crisis. This is how photographer Jason Florio’s portfolio of men, women, and children rescued from the Mediterranean Sea became the cover story of our Winter 2016 issue.

Mapping: The Flight of Syrian Refugees

Not long ago, Syria’s prospects were looking good—tourism was rising, restrictions on the economy were being relaxed, and a historically icy relationship with the United States was (very) slowly thawing out. But the Arab Spring protests that began in late 2010 triggered a series of events that would reverse that progress and plunge Syria into a devastating civil war. 

Mapping by Reif Larsen

Mapping: Diasporas

The US is filled with remarkable diasporic hot spots, where immigrant and refugee communities have sprung up, most often due to secondary migration patterns.

Photo by Marcus Bleasdale

The Royal Mara

The UNHCR Somali driver speeds by a small herd
of white cattle prodded along by a desert farmer.
rust-colored dust in its wake clouds barbed-

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